Image source: 僕のヒーローアカデミア_アニメ公式 on Twitter

Now that Stain’s arc is done in My Hero Academia Season 2, let’s look back at the twisted logic to his murder spree.

The first year students in the hero course at U.A. High School are taking a weeklong work internship to experience the life of a professional hero. During the internship, the villains Stain and Tomura Shigaraki wreak havoc on Hosu City. Unlike Shigaraki, though, Stain has a very explicit purpose for his violence: rid the world of faux heroes—even if they’re just students.

Stain’s reasons for killing heroes is extremely interesting when you begin to break it down. On the surface, he seems like a crazed person who wants to murder heroes for the sake of anarchy. Yet, when we examine he views closely, this is far from the truth: His purpose is finding those he deems unworthy of the title “hero” and eliminating them. The reason for this is Stain believes all heroes, except All Might, are disingenuous; they’re heroes for all the wrong reasons. Surprisingly, Stain isn’t wrong in his assumption and he’s right to criticize the hero industry within the world of the series.

Over the course of the hero internship, we see a few different heroes in their day-to-day jobs. Herein lies an issue, though: What makes these heroes truly heroic? It could be argued some are heroic—like the hero Manual—because they’re consistently patrolling the streets to make sure the residents are safe. Yet, in the end, how many more heroes are trying to sell their name or a product? We’ve seen this with Mt. Lady in the very first episode of the series.

After kicking the villain and subduing him, the first thing she does is sell herself as a product. So, is she helping the people or is she trying to sell a product? The same can be said for the hero Uwabami who appeared in the 27th episode of the series—she fashions herself more as a model or spokesperson rather than a hero. For Stain, the underlying motive of fame is an issue because it’s not heroic to throw yourself into harms way only to sell a product.

Image source: 僕のヒーローアカデミア_アニメ公式 on Twitter

This is why Stain believes there’s only one true hero, All Might. In terms of fame, All Might is the “Number One Hero.” But, we see in the few All Might interviews in the series and the actions he takes he’s not heroing for fame. All Might is a hero because he truly believes in saving people and he’ll gladly sacrifice himself in the process. For instance in All Might’s debut (shown in the first episode) he saved over 100 people from the wreckage of a building and kept going back in. He was truly selfless in his actions. And throughout the series we’ve seen All Might forgo his personal interests to help others.

So, when Stain says the current state of heroing is toxic, he’s not wrong in his assertion as very few heroes show the same level of self-sacrifice or altruism as All Might does. As such, Stain sees heroes as chasing after the illusion of fame, having forgotten the ideals of self-sacrifice, or even having motives that are counter to that of what a hero should want. And for him, the only way to rectify the situation is to kill any pretenders because the system isn’t changing.

It’s very twisted logic, but for a villainous character like Stain it’s perfect. He’s his own hero because he’s criticizing the status quo and pointing out the fallacies of heroing in the series. However, since his methods are questionable he’s a villain. For Stain, though, the ends justify the means and those ends are creating his ideal hero, All Might.

Stain’s appearance at such an integral point in the series is exceptionally fascinating. We see what the students at U.A. High School could do in the sports festival, but now we’re taking a good hard look at what makes them want to become heroes. And Stain is the perfect foil to many of the characters because he points out how heroing has, in many cases, become a chase for fame, not selfless acts to save people.

My Hero Academia is currently streaming on FUNimation, Crunchyroll, and Hulu.

Comments (1)
  1. Doesn’t the anime explain this exactly…

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